Harbor Clean-up
Returning to the dock - FULL!
Water Chestnut Pull
A successful haul
Water Quality Monitoring
Volunteer Taking Readings


Harbor Clean-up – Getting Everyone Involved

Each spring for more than a decade, hundreds of volunteers have participated in this harbor wide clean-up sponsored by the North Oyster Bay Baymen’s Association, Friends of the Bay and the Town of Oyster Bay. What makes this clean-up event unique is its size and scope which has been attended by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and Billy Joel.

In the weeks leading up to the clean-up areas with debris around the harbor are identified by baymen and residents. On the day of the clean-up it is not uncommon for volunteers who set out on boat and foot to return to Theodore Roosevelt Park towing large sections of abandoned docks and derelict boats. These “treasures” are crushed by trucks from the Town of Oyster Bay’s waste management facility. If not gathered during this event these items would litter the harbor impacting sensitive shoreline habitats, pose a hazard to navigation and spoil the natural beauty of the harbor.



Water Chestnut Pull in Mill Pond – Removing Invasive Species

Since the invasive water chestnut was discovered in Mill Pond (part of the Oyster Bay National Wildlife Refuge) in 2008 volunteers have been working to stop it from spreading. According to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, “the water chestnut can form dense, floating mats and choke the water body in shallow sections and along the shoreline severely limiting light (a critical element of aquatic ecosystems) and reducing oxygen levels in the water. It competes with native vegetation and is of little value to wildlife. It also limits boating, fishing, swimming and other recreational activities.”Volunteers working with United States Fish and Wildlife Service in canoes, row boats and on foot annually conduct a water chestnut “pull” to remove the plant before its spiky seeds spread the plant more widely.


Citizen Water Quality Monitoring – Documenting Improvements

In 1999 Friends of the Bay initiated a citizen water quality monitoring program to provide high quality data to continue the dissolved oxygen-testing baseline established by Nassau County's Department of Health in 1972. Serving as watchdogs for activity within the watershed and screening for water quality impairments this program educates and involves citizens and public officials about water quality protection. Testing is performed weekly April - October.

In addition to determining the long-term water quality trends, the program has expanded to monitor the estuary in support of nutrient testing and the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for pathogens that has been established for Oyster Bay and Mill Neck Creek. Through this monitoring we will be able to document the effects of water quality improvement programs such the Oyster By Sewage Treatment Plant upgrade and hooking up “The Birches” to the Glen Cove Sewage Treatment Plant.